Longarm Quilting: Fill Faster with Pebble Stitch Tricks

The pebble stitch is a popular filler stitch for free-motion quilting backgrounds. It's easy to get into a Zen-like state while machine quilting little connecting circles over and over again.

longarm quilting by angela huffman
S-curves and curls make longarm quilting with the pebble stitch
go more quickly. Stitching and photo by Angela Huffman.

But when you're trying to cover a lot of ground on a large quilt, especially when longarm quilting, making those tiny pebbles can be tedious.

Renowned longarm quilter and APQS educator Angela Huffman has some tips for making the pebble stitch go faster and look more interesting, too. 

Angela Huffman's Pebble Stitch Tips 

1. Use a low-profile, open-toe darning foot. This makes it easier to see where you're going as you travel around the edges of the circles.
2. Don't worry about getting the pebbles exactly the same size. You can vary the size of the circles slightly; the eye won't notice the small differences in symmetry.

3. As you stitch the small pebbles, every so often make a large circle with a curl inside (see image). Then stack your smaller pebbles around it.

4. Every so often, throw in an S-curve. The S-curve takes up space, and you can then build small pebbles around the edges.

5. As stitch your quilt motifs, you may find yourself locked into a wedge. Just travel backwards along the edge of the stitching you've already done until you get back into open territory.

I love watching Angela work, because she is so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Her pro tips and techniques for machine quilting result in beautiful quilts–and more fun while making them.

If you're new to longarm quilting or just want to make your longarm quilting designs better, I highly recommend our Longarm Fundamentals course with Angela. Read on for details and be sure to click through to watch her video preview.

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